I never thought that I would say this, but music superstars seem to have it kinda hard these days. What with the ability of fans to be able to connect with them so intimately now through technology and social media and already constantly being under the guise of the 24-hour TMZ news cycle, everything that they do seems to be scrutinized and and dissected to the Nth degree. Take Chris Brown: besides Kanye West, C.B. seems to be Urban entertainment’s poster boy for not be able to get a moment’s rest these days, ever since his domestic abuse debacle with one Rihanna, which now seems like it was a decade ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I can’t defend Breezy’s actions and I won’t attempt to. Being the youngest of three children with two older sisters and two nieces, I could NEVER condone putting my hands on a woman in a way that’s malicious or meant to do her harm. I don’t roll like that. But even with all of the messed up and at times just plain dumb things that Brown has done in the last few years, from Rihanna to trashing dressing rooms to the Frank Ocean spat to the war of words and fists (well, maybe not fists) with Drake in the club, he’s dug quite a hole for himself, and even reveled in the image of being the bad boy.
But the public eye can also be the eye of the storm for many a celebrity to deal with, and the latest incident involving Chris Brown has seemed to not only be blown out of proportion by music and entertainment media outlets, but also one where all of the facts haven’t come out. Then again, the facts aren’t always what matters when it comes to today’s media, especially when there’s a potential juicy story involving a major international music star. There are questions all around: who threw the first punch outside the hotel? Was it Brown or his bodyguard? Did he utter another slur against gay people? Has he or will he spend time in jail…again? Is he really going to rehab for anger management?
The whole point is this: it’s not really a matter of answering the questions truthfully. Instead, it’s a matter of presenting a certain version of what is deemed to be the truth to sway public opinion in a certain way. Like it or not, that’s the game. Personally, I think Brown does need to watch his actions, who he has around him and what those folks intentions are. But maybe the general population and the media itself need to start taking a closer look at the way stories and news items are presented, and if they are done in a way that actually IS fair and balanced, or if it’s all just about ratings, sweeps weeks and what the best story is, even if it’s not one that’s accurate.
Check out a story on the SPIN.com website that gives the latest on Chris Brown’s most recent ups and downs.
It’s kinda hard to believe that Barbadian songstress and pop princess Rihanna is seven albums into her career as a recording artist. Since 2005, she’s grown from just another bubble gum singer having a style laced with Island flavor to an international pop music icon, tabloid/TMZ favorite, unrivaled fashionista and all-around party girl. With the release of her latest album, Unapologetic, Rih Rih does her best to silence critics from all corners.
Rihanna’s strength has never really been with her voice, but her success has come in the last few years from having songwriters and producers around her that know how produce hits, and crafting music that’s radio friendly, memorably hooky, sexually suggestive and reflective of the fast lane pop star lifestyle myth all at the same time. Think in the vein of “Rude Boy” and “S&M”. The formula has worked like gangbusters for her since A Good Girl Gone Bad, and it continues here. With “Jump”, she give her own dirty-pop update of Ginuwine’s “Pony”, while “Right Now” continues the trend of fast-paced, EDM-inspired major label pop R&B helmed by David Guetta; it’s sure to get night clubs from the Jersey Shore to Ibiza pumping all night long.
Surprisingly, Rihanna also shoots for success in the area of the big Rock/Pop/R&B/Contempo ballad “What Now”, but misses the mark slightly in the area of real, raw emotion. Another track that Unapologetic could have done without are “Numb” featuring a disinterested Eminem that sounds like he may have done the record as a favor. And “Loveeeee Song” with Future lays it on very thick, with the rapper singing disingenuous, auto-tuned coos to Rih Rih that seem to fall on deaf ears.
But there’s much more good than bad on the singers seventh album, with piano-driven “Stay” featuring Mikky Ekko giving off an almost operatic duet vibe, party pop winners like “Power It Up” and “Fresh Off The Runway”, and the song that everyone has been waiting a few years to hear, “Nobody’s Business” with former lover Chris Brown, which pays successfully trendy homage to Michael Jackson, an artist that has obviously influenced both Rihanna and Breezy.
Rih Rih remains successful by not only continuing to make chart-topping pop hits, but also by taking chances. True, she’s been criticized for being more style than substance, more fluff than talent. But there’s no denying that Ms. Rihanna is now a wily music veteran that knows how to make a danceable and relevant pop record. Unapologetic is just that.